Teachers must be prepared to work with students from diverse backgrounds — and there is so much to understanding diverse contexts.

Evelyn Baca

Cultural and linguistic diversity, English-language learners, student identities, school reform and teacher preparedness are all in a day's work for Professor Evelyn Baca, education, whose focus is preparing the next generation of teachers to succeed in a multicultural world.

"I want to support teachers as they begin their journeys as educators," says Baca, who fondly recalls her time teaching Spanish and English in her home state of Arizona, an experience that made her acutely aware of the many challenges teachers face each day.

In fact, the state's anti-bilingual education policies were a catalyst in Baca's decision to address multilingualism in her research and teaching. In her classes, she engages students in exploring the histories of minoritized youth in U.S. schools. She also guides them in understanding the ways pedagogy and curriculum can be implemented creatively and inclusively to meet the diverse needs of students.

"Teachers must be prepared to work with students from diverse backgrounds," notes Baca, whose research focuses on the educational policies, practices and discourses that influence culturally and linguistically diverse youth. For this reason, she strives to expand her students' knowledge of both current and seminal educational research and theory, with the goal of developing reflective, equity-minded teacher-scholars.

But her work is not confined to theory. In the past, Baca collaborated with schools and worked side-by-side with educators to support students and teachers. At Bucknell, she hopes to learn from the surrounding community by establishing new collaborations with local schools with a high number of low-income families — showing her students how to approach real-life classroom challenges in a constructive, creative way.

"I want them to be great teachers who understand how to be scholars and critics of the education system in ways that strengthen it," Baca says.

Posted September 2018